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How to Ace Your Skype Interview

Today's post is written by ECS Graduate Advisor Jillian Baer, who advises intern, co-op, and full-time employment seeking students.

If you are unable to travel to visit a job site or participate in a traditional interview, employers may ask you to interview via Skype.  Just like anything else you do – practice makes perfect!  To help you with this, here are some tips so that you can ace your Skype interview.  A list of sources is included below for additional information, but here are a few of our favorites to help you along.

  1. Pay attention to your environment.  Sit somewhere quiet where you’re unlikely to be interrupted or distracted.  Pick a plain background with no personal belongings visible.  Make sure those dirty laundry piles and red Solo cups stay out of the frame!  Additionally, a cluttered bookshelf or brightly colored posters can be distracting for interviewers.  Finally, lighting is an important component.  Don’t sit in front of a window or other light source, or you’ll simply be a black silhouette from the interviewer’s angle.  You want to make sure your face is well lit, but not blinding on the screen.  It’s helpful to do a “dry-run” with a friend to make sure the conditions are perfect for your interview.
  2. Appearance and attire matter.  It goes without saying that your hair/makeup/hygiene should be professional just like for a real interview, however, attire can sometimes be forgotten.  Appropriate dress tops AND bottoms are important.  Some think that because your lower body is not exposed, you could have pajama bottoms under that interview blazer.  However, if you have to stand up for any reason, go and grab something from another room, etc, you want to be prepared head to toe.  Additionally, color can play a role in your attire.  Black and navy are certainly professional options, but solid jewel-tones or a small pop of color can brighten your appearance.  Avoid stripes or tight woven patterns when appearing on screen and anything too bright or busy, as that can be distracting.
  3. Eye contact is important.  No, not between you and their face on the screen, but rather, you and the camera lens!  It’s easy to get distracted and stare at your own face when Skyping for an interview.  It can also be tempting to look at the interviewer’s face while answering a question to watch for reactions, similar to how you would in a regular interview.  However, from their perspective, this would mean you would be looking down below where they actually see you.  Focus your attention into the lens of the camera in order to ensure eye contact with the interviewer.
  4. Prepare for technical difficulties.  Skype with a friend or family member before your interview to make sure sound levels, video, internet connection, etc, is all working correctly.  Test your internet connection a few minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin.  You’ll also want to prepare some backups.  Perhaps have a pair of headphones nearby in case your speakers aren’t clear, or they can hear reverberations from their own voices.  Have an Ethernet cable available to plug in so you don’t lose service if your Wi-Fi is spotty.  Finally, make sure you have a contact phone number for the interview and your phone handy in case something happens and you need to reach out to them to explain the issue.

For additional tips and information on how to ace your Skype interview, check out some of these links:

“It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame.”
-Marshall McLuhan